Oats, lentils and popcorn. Economical, versatile and healthy. I thought I would share 3 simple recipes (hardly recipes, more like throw into a pot) that use these 3 pantry staples that don’t require having to shop at speciality food stores. Oats, lentils and popcorn can be bought from bulk bins at supermarkets. Remember to take your own reusable bags.
Muesli is a great to make a lot of at once as it keeps a long time stored correctly. Oats, nuts, seeds and dried fruits are all that you need to make a delicious muesli. Simply put the oats and nuts (roughly chop nuts) in a baking tray and cook in the oven on 180* stirring occasionally until toasted to your preference. Add dried fruit once cooled and store in jars.
Porridge is also a simple food to make using quick oats- just add boiling water and leave to cool. My toddler has porridge every morning, I add either a little stewed fruit or a teeny bit of honey.
Lentils are another staple at bulk bins and are very economical. Buy loose veges from the supermarket or from your local market using your own reusable bags. My toddler and eight year old will happily eat dahl and it’s even better the next day.
Soak one cup of lentils in water for at least 30 minutes. Fry spices in oil for a few minutes, stirring constantly on a medium heat. I use roughly a teaspoon of each: turmeric, cumin, coriander and yellow mustard seeds. Add 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic to spices and oil, cook these a few minutes then add veges (apart from leafy greens) that have been chopped up to roughly the same size. Cook these for about five minutes, add drained lentils, add water or vegetable stock, enough to cover veges a few inches above. Cook for around 40 minutes with the lid on the pot. Add chopped leafy greens such as spinach, kale or silverbeet. Cook for another 20 minutes. Season with salt before serving. I like a squeeze of lemon on mine or a splash of apple cider vinegar. Optional: serve with rice or flat bread.
Another staple at supermarket bulk bins is popcorn. We don’t buy chips as we avoid single use packaging so popcorn is a great alternative for snacking and the kids love it, and it’s so easy to make!
On a medium to high heat and depending on the size of your pan add enough oil to just cover the surface, add popcorn kernels, don’t crowd the pan, just enough to cover the surface to avoid un-popped kernels. Put lid on pot and every now and then give pan a swirl, continue to do this when kernels start popping. Once popping action has slowed down remove pan from heat and leave lid on until popping has stopped. For the kids I add a little salt and sometimes a little melted butter. Feeling adventurous? Google ‘flavoured popcorn recipes’ for some different flavours.